If you have been named as an executor then it will mean that you have been appointed to deal with the Will and estate of a deceased individual. After they pass away, depending on the complexity of the estate, this is a role that requires focus, understanding and patience because it has to be done right.
What Does it Involve?
Once an individual passes away, it’s important to register their death to obtain the death certificate before you can start dealing with the estate. If there are assets involved such as a home, possessions and money, then you will need to apply for a Grant of Probate, in order to have the necessary legal authority to handle the assets and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries named in the Will.
The process involves following a number of steps to ensure you are complying with your legal and moral obligations. What this means is that being an executor and handling the estate means that you will need to follow strict legislation as getting something wrong could leave you personally financially responsible for. Once the Grant of Probate has been obtained, you will then have the ability to approach banks and other financial institutions to begin accessing the money and assets.
You can then begin paying liabilities such as funeral expenses and debts and even look at managing the sale of the property and getting it valued.
Prior to obtaining the Grant of Probate you will also need to ensure that any inheritance ta liability is paid, which involves submitting accounts to HMRC. HMRC expects you to do things correctly which means that you will need to ensure that the tax you paid is correctly calculated. Failing to pay the correct amount of tax could lead to an investigation and that could result in you being made to repay anything that has not be paid correctly.
As you can see, there is a lot of responsibility placed on the executor and that responsibility is something that many people are hesitant to take on. The process can be complex, time-consuming and confusing, and with that comes the potential for problems. For the majority of executors, it therefore makes sense to seek professional help. This will ensure that the entire process, which includes applying for probate and executing the Will, is all handled professionally and efficiently. This will remove the responsibility from the executor to make sure that all taxes and liabilities are managed before the remainder of the estate is distributed to beneficiaries.